The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) announces the awarding of nearly $7 million in research grants to 25 recipients.

These latest grants are in addition to the 41 awarded earlier this year, and bring MDA’s grant distribution to more than $17 million. They reflect MDA’s plan to refocus its resources in order to double its research spending on drug development and clinical trials by the year 2020, according to a media release from MDA.

“With this new round of grants, MDA continues to lead the fight against neuromuscular disease by funding top scientists and fueling cutting-edge research around the world aimed at accelerating treatments and cures for MDA families,” says MDA’s executive vice president and chief medical & scientific officer, Valerie A. Cwik, MD, in the release.

“Every grant MDA funds has the potential to be the catalyst that will drive the next life-changing medical and scientific advances for every child and adult fighting neuromuscular disease,” she adds.

Among these grants, per the release, are a study by scientists at the University of Florida in Gainesville that is testing an antibody treatment as a potential treatment strategy for ALS; and a study by researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in La Jolla, Calif to help increase understanding about the complexity of cellular interactions that underlie disease progression in Duchenne muscular dystropy

Additional recipients include a study from scientists at the University of Washington in Seattle to help increase the understanding of the role of DUX4 protein in facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy; a study by researchers at Emory University to continue their work to identify and characterize gene defects that may cause limb-girdle muscular dystrophy; and a study by scientists at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, to investigate how the mechanisms underlying spinal muscular atrophy influence the way therapies work at different stages of the disease.

“MDA is committed to helping make therapy options available to treat all the diseases under our umbrella as quickly as possible. Thanks to generous partners and donors who champion our work and our cause, we are able to fund the research that will make that day a reality,” Cwik adds in the release. “We’re laser-focused on helping MDA families live longer and grow stronger.”

[Source(s): Muscular Dystrophy Association, PR Newswire]